Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Coffee, Lunch Cafe Closing for Business This Week — UPDATE

Posted By on Wed, Jul 9, 2014 at 3:04 PM

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Coffee, Lunch, a locally owned coffeehouse and cafe across from Cummins Station, plans to close for good at the end of the day Friday.

A tweet from the cafe today announced the closing, which manager P.J. Kinzer confirmed. The restaurant's chef-owner, Zack Maddox, could not be immediately reached for comment.

Coffee, Lunch opened at 300A 10th Ave. S. in August 2012. Though it operated weekdays only, it gained citywide notice for its focus on local ingredients and its creative lunch specials, in particular the steak and gruyere sandwich.

In her review in November 2013, Scene critic Carrington Fox said Coffee, Lunch "offers an innovative repertoire of locally inspired fare that drills deep into quality and treats the morning and midday meals with equal creative attention."

Kinzer provided no details about what precipitated the closing or future plans for the team.

UPDATE: Today (Wednesday, July 9) the restaurant sent out an email farewell:

For the past two years Coffee, Lunch has had the privilege of serving the neighborhood surrounding Cummins Station and Cannery Row. We are sad to say that it will soon come to an end. Owner Zack Maddox will be closing his doors for the final time this Friday, July 11th. The folks who started as patrons very quickly became friends. We are very proud of the standard of food and coffee we've served. It will be hard to leave it all behind. To show our appreciation to our loyal guests, all purchases will be half off on our final day of business. We will miss you all.

As Kinzer mentioned, on the restaurant's final day, this Friday, July 11, everything will be priced at 50 percent off, including food, coffee and T-shirts. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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Peg Leg Porker Plans Piggy Bank Dinner With Taqueria del Sol

Posted By on Wed, Jul 9, 2014 at 6:27 AM

Eddie Hernandez and Mike Klank
  • Eddie Hernandez and Mike Klank
Right off the bat, for those of you who didn't take advantage of my advice to attend the Fox Brothers dinner at Peg Leg Porker last month, I am sincerely sorry that you missed out on an amazing night of food and drink. Just about everyone in attendance at the sold-out dinner went home fat and happy with boxes full of enough leftover meat and veggies to feed them for a week. It was truly a great night.

So believe me when I tell you that Carey Bringle's next team-up later this month should be special as well. This time, he's joining forces with the folks from Taqueria del Sol for a Piggy Bank dinner on Sunday, July 27, to benefit the Southern Foodways Alliance. Original TdS founders Mike Klank and Eddie Hernandez will be traveling up from Atlanta to join Bringle and the local Taqueria del Sol staff from their 12South location, led by managing partner Tony Halligan.

Each chef will prepare unique courses that will complement the distinct styles of their respective restaurants, and Bringle will also serve up the welcome cocktail called the Pork & Stormy (made with Peg Leg Porker Tennessee Straight Bourbon Whiskey, ginger beer and lime juice). Between Bringle’s traditional twist on Memphis barbecue and Hernandez’s creative South-meets-Southwest style, it should be a helluva meal for only $75, including five courses with beer and moonshine pairings, tax and gratuity.

The fun kicks off with cocktails at 6:30 p.m., and you can buy your tickets to the table at the event website.

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Ex-Husk Chef Morgan McGlone Takes Hot Chicken to Australia

Posted By on Tue, Jul 8, 2014 at 1:25 PM

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After his rather sudden exit from the kitchen at Husk, many folks have been wondering what chef Morgan McGlone has been up to. He worked a short stint in the kitchen at Rumours 12th and Division and took several international trips to cook in restaurants around the globe. But he seems to have settled on his next project, and it has a decidedly Nashville twist.

Along with Aaron Turner, whom McGlone worked with at Rumors, he is opening Belle's Hot Chicken in Melbourne, Australia. Turner already has a reputation Down Under from an acclaimed stint at Loam, a restaurant at Drysdale on the Bellarine Peninsula where he used a lot of foraged ingredients for a seasonal locavore menu. Now the dynamic duo are taking their version of Nashville's fiery fowl to the Aussies.

They reference Prince's, Hattie B's and Bolton's as their inspirations, and promise some good old-fashioned Southern sides to accompany their dishes of hot chicken and fish. You can't get much more Southern than Australia, amIright?

So who wants to go on a road trip to check out the new spot after they open in August?

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Mason's Opens the Jar on a New Summer Menu

Posted By on Tue, Jul 8, 2014 at 6:41 AM

Scallops from Mason's
  • Photo: Ron Manville
  • Scallops from Mason's
Mason's at Loews Vanderbilt celebrated its first birthday on May 7. Well, actually they didn't take any time to celebrate since they were so busy cooking three meals a day for hotel guests and locals and planning a new menu for the restaurant. I did attend a small tasting of some of the new menu items that chef Brandon Frohne has come up with, and it's good to know that he's found his groove after a year running the kitchen. With the benefit of a year's worth of different seasonal ingredients having cycled through the larder, Frohne has a better grasp on which specific foodstuffs work on the dishes as opposed to just adding exotic ingredients because they are deemed as trendy.

Supported by the resources of a large hotel chain and kitchen, while at the same time limited by the corporate purchasing procedures, Mason's probably has to work harder at menu planning than many autonomous restaurants where the chef/owner can pick whatever produce he or she likes off of the back of a farmer's truck. The choices Frohne and the staff at Mason's have made for the summer seem pretty clever to me.

A bowl of Cantaloupe Gazpacho garnished with yogurt, chilies and mint oil is a wise choice for a cool soup during hot days, especially in these last few weeks before the tomatoes really start to kick butt. Another nice cooling dish is a Cavolo Nero Kale & Squash Crudo with Walnuts, Fiore Sardo, Blueberry, Pea Tendrils and Beet Yogurt. Really more of a salad than a crudo, it was quite satisfying nonetheless.

Not light or cooling, but definitely satisfying was an appetizer of Crispy Chicken Skin "Chicharitos" seasoned with a spice blend that Frohne developed to mimic the flavor profile of popular trademark-protected snack product that rhymes with "Fro-Ritos."

Continue reading »

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Monday, July 7, 2014

Noelle in Belle Meade: This Week's Dining Review

Posted By on Mon, Jul 7, 2014 at 3:42 PM

Noelles Beef Tataki
In case you missed it: In the current issue of the Scene, restaurant critic Carrington Fox checks out Noelle, the latest restaurant in the high-profile Belle Meade space formerly filled by Whitfield's and Belle Meade Brasserie.

Named for owner Dewayne Johnson's baby girl, Noelle (106 Harding Place, 356-5450) is a renovated and reimagined dining spot. Fox describes it as "a surprisingly comfortable neighborhood eatery with a well-executed menu of traditional contemporary cuisine."

Johnson is a remaining owner from the Whitfield's era. His business partners in that project, Nathaniel Beaver and Tabor Luckey, "departed to concentrate on their Infinity Restaurant Group projects, including Bria Bistro Italiano in Bellevue, The Bridge Building on the East Bank of the Cumberland, The Bell Tower in SoBro, and The Harding House inside Belle Meade Plantation," Fox reports.

And there are glad tidings when it comes to Noelle, Fox says:

"Chef Matthew Smith's repertoire of composed plates, including lamb, pork tenderloin, steak and duck, satisfies the modern craving for seasonal and house-made cuisine, without pushing diners into offal-heavy nose-to-tail whole-animal fare. In other words, no beef cheeks, oxtail or pig ears, but enough house-made butters, local cheeses, fresh-baked brioche, herb-infused cocktails and inventive details to qualify as contemporary."

Fox also notes that Noelle is a welcome new place to mention when people complain to her about a lack of good dining options in Belle Meade, which as Nashville's wealthiest neighborhood, would seem to be fertile ground for restaurants. But it's not that straightforward, Fox points out, with lease prices being a powerful factor when it comes to restaurant success.

In any case, you should check out Fox's full review of Noelle. And if you wish, chime in under the comments section below. Have you tried Noelle yet? What's your opinion of the neighborhood when it comes to restaurants? Do you agree that there's "nothing to eat in Belle Meade"?

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The $11,000 Potato Salad

Posted By on Mon, Jul 7, 2014 at 2:30 PM

I’ve been in the marketing business for… let’s just say, a long time. Mostly concentrating on consumer behavior, research and strategy. Knowing the customer, if you will. But I admit to failing when it comes to properly marketing myself. I don’t mind advocating for another, but being my own No. 1 fan is at odds with my modest Protestant Irish upbringing. However, in this business of writing about food, I have come across some brazen and sometimes genius marketing tactics that folks have employed to promote themselves. Some that have me kicking myself and wondering why I did not think of them first.

The most recent example came to my attention via Eater:

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Um, what?

Y’see, it all got started, according to CNET, because this dude, Zack Danger Brown (I am certain that’s his real name) wanted to raise some funds to make a batch of potato salad for himself. His goal? Just $10. Just enough to get the three pounds of potatoes, onions, herbs, and mayo you need to make a good potato salad.

Once CNET got the story, the campaign went crazy. At last check, the potato salad Kickstarter has raised more than $11,000 above his initial goal of $10. Brown has since “stretched” his goals and started offering more incentives to backers, including a pledge to say your name aloud as he eats the potato salad and “a potato-salad themed haiku written by me, your name carved into a potato that will be used in the potato salad.”

I made a potato salad this past weekend. And like some kind of sucker, I used my own money to make it. It never even occurred to me to ask other people to give me the money to make it. Genius! I wonder if I could replicate those results with a hummus.

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Nashville Food Trucks Book Launch Party this Saturday (Plus a Giveaway)

Posted By on Mon, Jul 7, 2014 at 11:05 AM

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Wow, it’s been almost two years since I introduced you guys to The Nashville Food Truck Junkie. Since that time, Julie Festa has been keeping us all up to date on the latest Nashville food truck news and events on her blog. And for much of this year, she’s been busy writing a book dedicated to her favorite topic. Nashville Food Trucks: Stories & Recipes from the Road features the stories of how and why Nashville’s favorite food truck operators got started, as well as recipes for signature menu items.

Among the recipes are the Biscuit Love Truck's "Family Reserve Biscuits" and Bao Down’s Braised Short Rib. Local food truck fans will see a lot of familiar food and faces among the pages.

Join Ms. Festa this weekend for the official launch of the book this Saturday, July 12, at 2 p.m. at Parnassus Books in Green Hills. It should be quite the party; the Biscuit Love Truck, DoughWorks, The Rolling Feast and Moovers & Shakers will all be on hand to help celebrate the book release with complimentary small bites for all to enjoy.

Here at Bites, we've been provided a copy of the book to give away, too. Just leave a comment with what food truck recipe/dish you really hope is in the book. (If it’s not in there, maybe there will be a follow up.) I’ll choose a winner at random on Tuesday, July 15. Be sure to check back here to see if you've won (please just one entry per person).

After the jump, get a preview of the book with The Grilled Cheeserie’s mouth-watering recipe for their Pimento Mac’n’Cheese Melt sandwich.

Nashville Food Trucks: Stories & Recipes from the Road Signing Event
Parnassus Books
3900 Hillsboro Pike
Saturday, July 12
2 p.m.

Continue reading »

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Wholly Chow Does Down-Home Right

Posted By on Mon, Jul 7, 2014 at 6:40 AM

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Odds are, you've never accidentally driven past Wholly Chow, a fairly new restaurant tucked into the industrial area behind the 100 Oaks Mall/Vanderbilt complex, at 2948 Sidco Drive. Beer aficionados might recognize that address as being right next door to Black Abbey Brewing Company. In reality, both establishments are only about a minute off of I-65 at the Armory Drive exit, so they're easily accessible.

Wholly Chow is the project of Jeff and Margot Hunter, who previously ran a food marketing research business in the same building. Since there was already an industrial kitchen installed to prepare food for their focus groups, it wasn't too much of a stretch to convert the building into a restaurant. Drawing on years of restaurant experience and a background in the food of the Mississippi Delta, the Hunters have created a menu of traditional Louisiana and Mississippi regional recipes available for breakfast, brunch and lunch.

Decorated with primitive murals of Nashville, New Orleans and Delta locales, the dining room at Wholly Chow is unpretentious and comfortable, which also describes their food. A separate dining room is available for larger parties or for private event rental.

Wholly Chow serves breakfast Monday through Friday from 7 to 10:30 a.m. and until 3 p.m. on weekends. The menu features hearty hangover-helper fare, highlighted by a Red-Eye Breakfast of two eggs, buttermilk biscuit and sawmill gravy served with Tennessee smoked ham, hickory smoked bacon, link and patty sausage, a side of pancakes and fresh seasonal fruit. (Yeah, that fruit's gonna make it healthy.) Other good breakfast dishes include omelets and Benedict items, many of them featuring shrimp, crawfish and lots of cheese.

Continue reading »

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Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Weekly Open Thread Ponders Charcoal vs. Gas

Posted By on Thu, Jul 3, 2014 at 12:31 PM

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Welcome to the Open Thread, Fourth of July edition, which we are offering a day early since one of Bites' favorite food-centric holidays falls on a Friday this year, and we aim to spend the day eating and drinking outdoors if we can.

And speaking of outdoor cooking: As we fire up our grills this long weekend, it seems we have reason to be concerned about using charcoal. According to one study, grilling with charcoal emits roughly the same amount of carbon dioxide as driving a car 22 miles. Grilling with propane, on the other hand, results in less than half that amount of carbon emissions.

On the other hand, let’s talk about propane. It’s a fossil fuel. That’s not environmentally friendly, and it's not a sustainable resource; there’s only a finite amount of it remaining in the world. Additionally, there are environmental implications in its processing.

Charcoal comes from wood, a renewable resource, at least in theory. Also, the myth that grilling with charcoal causes cancer has been largely dispelled (though click through to read the important details). And though gas grills are convenient — anyone who's eaten dinner hours late, waiting until the fire was "just right," knows this — the fact is gas-grilled foods don’t have quite the same taste as those cooked over wood or charcoal. The marketers and purveyors of pit barbecue and wood-fired pizzas agree on the superiority of good charcoal.

What do you think, Bitesters? Charcoal or gas and why? Any other news or questions on your mind this week?

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With Fire in the Belly, the Hot Chicken Festival Returns

Posted By on Thu, Jul 3, 2014 at 9:49 AM

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Fireworks will be high in the skies over Nashville tomorrow at Riverfront Park. If you attend the city’s annual Fourth of July salute to our indigenous culinary specialty — fried chicken doused with a peppery paste — there will also be fireworks deep in your colon. Hot chicken, after all, is as much a remedy as a delicacy: if there’s any microbe unwise enough to be vacationing in your digestive tract, this is like sending down Old Hickory with a force of 10,000 to deliver the eviction notice.

The Music City Hot Chicken Festival is always a popular party — folks start lining up several hours early for a shot at free samples and purchased bites from Music City’s fieriest fowl manufacturers. (And if the forecast is to be believed, the weather is giving us a break this year, with clear skies and tolerable temps in the low to mid-80s.)

Prince’s Hot Chicken, 400 Degrees, Hattie B’s, Bolton’s, Pepperfire, Chicken Shack Express and Hot Stuff will all be offering their wares. There will also be a beer tent from Yazoo and vendors ranging from Porter Road Butcher, Pied Piper Creamery and Retro Sno to The Peach Truck, B&C, Biscuit Love and Smokin’ Thighs — plus Community Food Advocates with palate-clearing, tongue-cooling watermelon. (If only melon didn’t taste to us like soggy crepe paper.)

Factor in live music from the Shelby Bottom String Band, the Centennial Hiptet, Stephen Salyers and Kevin Ball and the Busters — and of course the drama of the hotly contested amateur hot-chicken cook-off — and learn why, where Nashville food is concerned, the bird is the word.

Admission to the event is free; it runs 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday, July 4, at East Park.

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